Hilpoltstein: ‘Our dogs have benefited from the lockdown’ – Rother animal shelter is struggling with many problems during the Corona crisis

Kristina Frst raised seven squirrels at the Roth animal shelter last year. Walkers discovered them in the forest.

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Many people are currently on short-time working or working from home. There are no celebrations, no concerts, no cinema, no shopping, no travel. Lots of free time for that. The pandemic-related contact restrictions also contribute to the fact that the desire for a pet increases. As a rule, animal shelters receive more inquiries about animal adoptions, but they have to struggle with the effects of the corona crisis both financially and organizationally. In many places the willingness to donate is declining and sponsorships are being canceled.

It doesn’t look quite so gloomy for the animal shelter of the animal welfare association Roth, although the coffers have also become emptier than at “normal” times. “Fortunately, the donations of food and money are still satisfactory,” says Kristina Frst, the deputy director of the animal shelter in Roth. However, due to the closure during the lockdowns in spring and since mid-December, important sources of income have been missing. “During this time, no placements were possible”, says Frst and sees this as one of the reasons why the number of animal adoptions fell from 343 in 2019 to 281 last year.

Since mid-January this year, however, appointments have been possible again by telephone. “The waiting time was very long in the beginning. It could take up to two weeks from the inquiry to the actual appointment,” remembers Frst back and adds: “Now there are always three appointments a day and everything is going well.”

At least walking was possible even when the animal shelter was completely closed to visitors. This offer was and is still very well received. “At least our dogs have benefited from the lockdown,” Frst tries to see the positive side of the corona crisis. Rather, the deputy animal shelter manager is troubled by the lack of income from the animal shelter. In 2019 there were a total of 357 dogs, cats and small animals that were temporarily given to the shelter for care, the number fell to 187 in 2020. “When people go on vacation, they have their four-legged friends for the Travel period given to us. Because of the travel restrictions, this source of income is now extremely low, “says Frst.

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The open door day, the Easter celebration and the summer festival were also omitted last year. Actually, three fixed dates a year when the shelter introduces itself to the public. The animal shelter was also always present at the Roth Altstadtfest and the Christmas bazaar in the past. Due to the elimination of public relations work, there is no contact with the people who would not have found their way to us at the animal shelter by themselves “, complains Frst. This also made it difficult for the association to get new members.

On the other hand, the number of wild animals that were given to the animal shelter increased during the corona crisis. Kristina Frst raised seven little squirrels last year and then properly released them back into the wild. “People were increasingly out and about in the forest and brought the obviously injured young animals that had fallen victim to nesting birds such as birds or cats to us,” says Frst, who is currently even picking up a great crested grebe.

Eight full-time employees are currently employed at the Roth animal shelter. Volunteers are not allowed due to the Corona requirements – the only exception is walking. “But even in normal times you can count the volunteer employees on one hand”, says Frst. The association currently has between 700 and 800 members. Fortunately, the number of withdrawals was limited. “I don’t see any major fluctuations compared to corona-free years,” says Frst.

But she is particularly sad that the approximately 50 members of the animal welfare association’s youth groups are not allowed to enter the shelter during the lockdown. “The young people were always happy to come, fed the animals and trained by our employees.” The 30 dogs and 5 cats who currently live in the Roth animal shelter and are waiting for a new home have to do without this care. Ten other cats are currently in quarantine. “But that has nothing to do with Corona,” says Frst with a smile. The “animal quarantine” has always existed. If found animals are not labeled, they are initially quarantined for 28 days. During this time, your health will be checked. They are then castrated, vaccinated, chipped and dewormed twice before a new family is found for them. The animals are presented on the website of the Roth animal shelter and if someone misses their animal, they can ideally find it here.

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Not every request for an animal adoption from the Roth animal shelter is ultimately crowned with success. Because every single request is carefully examined. “We get a detailed picture of the potential new owner and explain to him in detail how much time, money and care it takes to keep a pet. And the question often arises:” What if the home office is over? “. Often it becomes clear in the conversations that it is not the truth for one or the other.” In such cases we suggest that you possibly sponsor an animal or offer to go for a walk.

In individual cases, Frst also got the feeling that a dog should only serve so that the owner could still leave the house after 9 p.m. during the curfew. That is why the employees of the animal shelter carefully check the suitability of the future animal owner, obtain permission from the landlord and, if necessary, also make pre- and post-checks. “We look at the possible home, and only when we have a good feeling do we convey the animal”.

The controls are currently not feasible due to Corona. “We have to rely on our gut instincts”, says Frst. Because the “aptitude test” is carried out so thoroughly, many people then simply get their pets on internet portals or directly from the breeder, which Frst sees very skeptically. “Afterwards, people often notice that they are overwhelmed with keeping animals and may abandon their dog or cat,” she fears and dares to predict: “This means that a lot of animals will end up with us again after the Corona crisis. ” HK

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